St. Paul’s wide receiver Kylen Austin’s name rings bells in the Maryland Interscholastic Athletic Association. He will look to make his mark on the next level at Liberty.
Austin, who announced his decision Tuesday night on Twitter, is jovial about the chance to play at the next level and plans to major in business. He mentioned that the “school had a good vibe to it” when he got on campus. He enjoyed the coaching staff and it was the final school that he visited before the COVID-19 pandemic.
“What drew me to Liberty was the endless love that Coach [Hugh] Freeze, Coach [Maurice] Harris and Coach [RJ] Fleming showed me," Austin said. "That were 100% honest in there recruiting and seen potential in me on and off the field. The visit as well, especially with the tour for the education. My major was in the business field, as far as creating my own business and real estate. I felt comfortable when I was there. [I] can’t wait to go back and I’m glad to call it home.”
Liberty, located Lynchburg, Virginia, finished 8-5 as an independent in the Football Bowl Subdivision level last year and won its first bowl game after moving to the FBS in 2018. The Flames' 32.8 points per game last season ranked 34th in the country, and Freeze holds a 49-37 coaching record in six seasons as a head coach at Arkansas State, Mississippi and Liberty.
Austin is ecstatic about the chance to get the chance to play under his tutelage.
“When I called Coach Freeze, we were talking about how I can fit in the offense and move around a lot,” Austin said. “He has lots of experience and knows what he’s doing. I’ll be glad to be coached up from him and be successful. He comes from SEC where he turned Ole Miss around and I feel that he’s doing the same at Liberty. He’s coached high-level talent in the SEC and was successful with getting them to the next level. He has a strong history with wide receivers and I feel his offense will allow me to show my talent.”
Varsity Highlights Newsletter
Get the latest high school sports stories, photos and video from around the region.
The 6-foot-1, 170-pound Austin is rated as a three-star prospect and the 35th-ranked player in the 2021 class in Maryland, per the 247Sports Composite Rankings. He had 28 scholarship offers, including from East Carolina, Virginia Tech, Army, Morgan State, Navy, Towson and Virginia.
The senior receiver had 33 receptions for 563 yards and nine touchdowns, 1,231 all-purpose yards and one punt return for a touchdown last season, earning a spot on the Baltimore Touchdown Club Super 22 team.
His quarterback, Scott Smith III, is also headed to play Division I football. The soon-to-be Towson Tiger believes that his St. Paul’s teammate will be a great fit at Liberty and an equally dynamic player.
“Kylen is outstanding player who is going to do great things at Liberty," Smith said. “Kylen is a competitor who works very hard at his craft. His route-running, quickness and top-end speed is second to none and will translate very well to the next level.”
Austin isn’t yet sure what he’ll do this season with the MIAA holding firm on its decision to postpone fall sports amid the coronavirus pandemic, with plans to re-evaluate in Ocotber. While he is getting prepared for college, he’s unsure if he will participate again at the high school level, especially if a chance comes to enroll early.
“It felt really weird because that’s all I’ve been doing since I was five years old,” Austin said. “But this quarantine pushed me to get better on the field and to stay on my grind. This led me to being more productive and responsible in the process because I could’ve chose the easy route and get no work in. It’s been weird not to be able to suit up and get out there with my St. Paul’s brothers. I’m hoping to that a in October we will be able to play.[I] still have yet to decide because it have to get the early enroll situated with my high school.”